III Points 2015: Day 1 Recap
October 10, 2015
The time has come, my friends, our day 1 recap of III Points is on the loose. After a long night, I thank my former self for having jotted down detailed notes amidst the night’s festivities with which I can adequately (try to) capture the momentous feat that was the first day of Miami’s greatest arts, music, & technology festival. A lot of stuff went down last night, some great, some slightly uncomfortable, but it all made for a pretty successful unveiling. Here you go:
Music, the essential glue within the III Points persona, immediately catches your ears as you walk in through the portal with an ingenious mini-stage featuring local DJs setting the mood for the night to come. The first thought I had as I came out the other side was how impressive this year’s production is. The III Points crew have mastered the art of creating flow within such confined spaces (what they did at Soho Studios last year, filling 4 stages with ease) by peppering the grounds with eye-catching and inviting designs. This year, the geometric theme is in full swing with gargantuan pyramids and octagonal huts by The MUSE Directive. When the sun went down, the shapes came alive with color, giving the cut-outs a bit of an Obey meets Tron feel. Chill pads, Persian rugs everywhere, the trademark painted school bus, it’s a raver’s playground.
Photo by: Max Reed
Nick Leon was getting the Main Frame stage started while things were going deep in the Black Hole stage which I liked to call the “Two Step-Off”, as festivalgoers looking for a cool down were bouncing to the lights of the Marie Antoinette and Spun clips on the TV installation. The beautiful marriage of technology-driven art and music is the leading role at this year’s III Points. Projections, interactive sound installations, a BMW test-drive ride (yup BMWs were in there), and the illuminated launch pad thru which you enter the Main Frame stage make the festival feel like one big incline to the city’s best rollercoaster ride. I never stopped being giddy inside.
The Kazoots were easily my favorite local band to grace the Mind Melt stage yesterday, although Austin Paul was every bit as soulful at Sector 3 (pity the sound from Mind Melt’s Plastic Pinks pooled in to his quiet vocals). The words, “Alabama Shakes” were being thrown around as the local rockers blended tribal, tropical, and soul all in one set. Lead vocalist, Inez drew the curious crowd in with a hard-felt rendition of “Where is Your House” that bred new fans from the audience, if they weren’t in love already. Shoutouts to KUMI throwing it down in the transitions, I particularly liked the Kendrick Lamar refreshers. But the best place to catch classic hip hop and 90s R&B? With ILLA on the Sector 3 transitions, all the performances of which were being streamed live by WVUM. Dope little touch right there.
Photo by: Stefan Bojilov
Let me take the time to compliment the incredible attention to service because III Points this year has, hands down, the best bathroom attendants in the history of any festival. So fun and upbeat, friendly and excited, they even walked you to your stall or port-o-potty.
As I walked to Panda Bear on the Main Frame stage, I sniffed out Surfer Blood whose tight outfit made me happy to see so much support for a local punk band. Oh, Panda Bear. The Animal Collective front-runner was a paradoxical juxtaposition of upbeat tunes and uncomfortably dark graphics — it was every bit as hypnotic as you’d expect. His wires like snakes curling and unfurling from his set up, his crisp vocals spoke straight to the childish spirit inside every crowd member with tracks like “Boys Latin” and “Crossroads.” It was a lucky thing that the music was so on point at that stage all night because the heat almost made it unbearable to watch. But we pulled through!
Taking a breath of fresh air, I snagged some food from the extensive (and well-rounded) food fair by Sector 3 and was blown away by J Port‘s slow trap performance, making it one of the dirtiest sets all weekend, I’m sure. He was the hip hop necromancer the lineup needed, and everyone witnessing his set was happy to be revived. Then came easily my favorite set of the night: Bonobo. After seeing his live set a year or so ago, all DJ sets seem to pale in comparison but this one came pretty close. There was not one moment that I wasn’t in love with what I was hearing, not one awkward transition or dragged-out drop. The British musician’s experience is his greatest asset as he sways effortlessly from African tribal to the crowd-cheering crescendo for “Cirrus.” His set was unsurprisingly funky, matched by the gorgeous graphics washing over him, the crowd was hanging on to every move – they even clapped when a glob of sweat dripped down his well-parted hair. He smiled, laughed, and continued playing as if it was all planned.
Meanwhile, Empress Of was giving Bonobo a run for his not-so-fresh air on the Mind Melt stage with Lorely Rodriguez’s piercing vocals and hair all ablaze. Moments were being manifested on that stage, and the crowd became her followers, bowing down to every song. Then came the reigning prince of Mana: Nicolas Jaar. How he was able to survive a 3-hour set in a sauna? I do not know, but there’s gotta be some magic in there somehow. In true Nico fashion, he drew the crowd in with a masterful tease, clouded by smoke and shrouded in light as if a deity on his altar. The set was choppy and smooth all at the same time with plenty of silent spaces filled by the weight of anticipation for his next move. There was a whole lot of old school Motown classics, leading to a Gospel hymn with lights that pulsated to the beat of his funky foundations…and then Kryogenifex‘s nitro pooled in and the crowd was saved. III Points lords had mercy.
To close out the very eventful night, I wandered over to check out Shigeto at the Sector 3 stage for a quick respite and ended up staying for the entirety of his set. Every person already drawn under his spell, couldn’t find the legs to move away. Neon Indian was back there doing something upbeat and full of electro-pop goodness but it couldn’t compare to the live drumming and production work of the Michigan-native. The beauty in his instrumentalism, matched by his technical skill, made the set feel like a bit of Araabmuzik meets Bonobo for a drink with Break Science’s Adam Deitch. The late-night crowd went crazy over “Detroit Part 1” and “Soul Searching” and I was right there with them.
Want to make sure not to miss Shlohmo, AlunaGeorge, Toro Y Moi, Jacques Greene, and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs? Buy your day passes here and join the party that everyone will be talking about for years to come. See you tonight!